Podcast Episodes

The Society's podcast, Surgical Hot Topics, features leaders in cardiothoracic surgery discussing important issues in the field. Please note: The comments included in these episodes are that of the individuals involved and not necessarily that of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

Find episodes here, or subscribe via the links below:

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  • #141: The Resilient Surgeon S2: Steve Magness

    December 2, 2022

    In this episode, Dr. Michael Maddaus talks with Steve Magness about a reimagined idea of toughness and how to help others be tough through compassion, connection, and humanity. Magness is a world-renowned expert on performance and author of the book Do Hard Things: Why We Get Resilience Wrong and the Surprising Science of Real Toughness. His work breaks down the myth of what real toughness is and identifies four pillars of becoming tough as an individual:

    • Ditch the facade and embrace reality
    • Listen to your body
    • Respond instead of react
    • Transcend discomfort

    Listen as the conversation explores the ways in which toughness and resilience equip individuals with the skills to succeed and become their best selves. 

    “The Resilient Surgeon” is a program from STS designed to inspire cardiothoracic surgeons to be their best selves, in and out of the OR, using scientifically proven tools and recovery strategies of the world’s top performers.

    Steve Magness, author of Do Hard Things: Why We Get Resilience Wrong and the Surprising Science of Real Toughness, can be reached via stevemagness.com.

    Learn more about STS wellness efforts at sts.org/wellness.

  • #140: The Resilient Surgeon S2: Christine Porath

    November 18, 2022

    In this episode, Dr. Michael Maddaus speaks with Christine Porath, an associate professor at Georgetown University McDonough School of Business. Porath has dedicated her career to understanding the business and personal impacts of how people treat one another in the workplace, and how the influence of leaders plays a huge role in happiness and engagement at work. The need for human connection is part of our genes. But Porath identifies today’s modern technologies and self-sufficient mindset as disconnecting factors that lead to increases in anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems. Her book, Mastering Civility: A Manifesto for the Workplace, documents the financial implications of poor leadership and suggests a variety of solutions. Her newest book, Mastering Community: The Surprising Ways Coming Together Moves Us from Surviving to Thriving, tells of the importance of workplace connection and feelings of value, belonging, and understanding. Listen as Dr. Maddaus and Porath discuss the need, at work and at home, to foster relationships built on connection and support, and how this can make all the difference, especially when times are hard.   

    “The Resilient Surgeon” is a program from the Society designed to inspire cardiothoracic surgeons to be their best selves, in and out of the OR, using scientifically proven tools and recovery strategies of the world’s top performers.

    Christine Porath can be reached at christine.porath@gmail.com.

    Learn more about STS wellness efforts at sts.org/wellness.

  • #139: The Resilient Surgeon S2: Marcus Buckingham

    November 4, 2022

    In this episode, Dr. Michael Maddaus talks with Marcus Buckingham, global researcher and New York Times bestselling author. Buckingham’s work focuses on unlocking people’s strengths, increasing their performance, and defining a better future for how people work. During this podcast episode, the two discuss finding and untapping one’s “wyrd,” which is described in detail in Buckingham’s latest book, Love+Work. Each person’s “wyrd”—from an ancient Norse term describing an individual’s unique spirit—informs how that person perceives the world and guides them to the things they truly love to do. Failing to tap into the “wyrd” and losing touch with that love is a recipe for burnout and angst. Listen as Dr. Maddaus and Buckingham discuss how to move through the demands of life and discover love in the details of one’s work, which inevitably leads to being a better team member and a happier self. 

    “The Resilient Surgeon” is a program from the Society designed to inspire cardiothoracic surgeons to be their best selves, in and out of the OR, using scientifically proven tools and recovery strategies of the world’s top performers.

    Marcus Buckingham can be reached via marcusbuckingham.com.

    Learn more about STS wellness efforts at sts.org/wellness.

  • #138: The Resilient Surgeon S2: Commander Rich Diviney

    October 19, 2022

    In this episode, Dr. Michael Maddaus interviews Commander Rich Diviney, a retired US Navy Seal officer and author of The Attributes, 25 Hidden Drivers of Optimal Performance. Drawing from his 20-plus years of experience in the Navy, Diviney came to understand that even individuals at the highest levels of physical and mental capabilities can sometimes fail to perform in specific situations. He determined that an individual’s ability to succeed is determined by attributes, not skills. Attributes—like patience, resilience, situational awareness, and adaptability—inform behaviors, and each person has a unique combination of attributes that dictates how they behave, react, and perform. Diviney shares how his time with the Navy Seals helped him develop his strongest attributes and how others can come to understand their own. Through careful examination of these attributes, people can build better relationships and teams and ultimately unlock their potential.

    “The Resilient Surgeon” is a program from the Society designed to inspire cardiothoracic surgeons to be their best selves, in and out of the OR, using scientifically proven tools and recovery strategies of the world’s top performers.

    Rich Diviney, author of The Attributes, 25 Hidden Drivers of Optimal Performance, can be reached online at theattributes.com.

    Learn more about STS wellness efforts at sts.org/wellness.

  • #137: The Resilient Surgeon S2: Dr. Brian Little

    October 7, 2022

    In this episode, Dr. Michael Maddaus talks with Dr. Brian Little, a world-renowned psychologist and an expert on personalities. Dr. Little has written three bestselling books on personality, has a TED Talk called “Who Are You, Really?” that has been viewed more than 20 million times, and was voted a favorite professor at Harvard University for 3 consecutive years. Together, they discuss the importance of self-awareness and how understanding our own personality traits can help us make better, more meaningful connections with those around us, both at work and at home. Learn about the Big Five Personality Traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism; and the profound impact they can have on how our lives unfold and flourish. Listen as Drs. Maddaus and Little share examples of these different personality traits and provide insights into how we can harness the unique qualities which truly allow us to be our best selves.  

    “The Resilient Surgeon” is a program from the Society designed to inspire cardiothoracic surgeons to be their best selves, in and out of the OR, using scientifically proven tools and recovery strategies of the world’s top performers.

    Dr. Little, author of, Me, Myself and Us: The Science of Personality and the Art of Well-being, can be reached via email.

    Learn more about STS wellness efforts at sts.org/wellness.

  • #136: The Resilient Surgeon S2: Dr. Amy Edmondson

    September 23, 2022

    In this episode, Dr. Michael Maddaus interviews Dr. Amy Edmondson—a scholar of leadership, teaming, and organizational learning. Best known for her groundbreaking work on psychological safety in the workplace, Dr. Edmondson is the author of seven books and is ranked as one of the most influential management thinkers. What is psychological safety? According to Dr. Edmondson, it is a belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes, and that the team is safe for inter-personal risk-taking. In other words, she says, “Think of it as felt permission for candor.” Dr. Maddaus reflects on the surgical culture in which fear and anxiety have been the accepted drivers of high expectations and excellence. The concept of psychological safety, though, has shown him a different way, and together with Dr. Edmondson, he discusses a “recipe for magic”—the magic for better outcomes, better problem-solving, and a more flexible and rapid ability to adapt and create for the future. Listeners will hear Dr. Edmondson explain that if you change the nature and quality of the conversations in your team, your outcomes will improve exponentially. Psychological safety, she explains, is the core component to unlock this. A leader’s job—whether at the top of an organization or somewhere in the middle—is to create a safe space for people to speak up, make mistakes, and bring their full selves to work. 

    “The Resilient Surgeon” is a program from the Society designed to inspire cardiothoracic surgeons to be their best selves, in and out of the OR, using scientifically proven tools and recovery strategies of the world’s top performers. Learn more about STS wellness efforts at sts.org/wellness. Dr. Edmondson can be reached at amycedmondson.com and @AmyCEdmondson

  • #135: The Resilient Surgeon S2: Dr. Paul Conti

    September 9, 2022

    In this episode, Dr. Michael Maddaus has an insightful, don’t-miss conversation with Dr. Paul Conti, a psychiatrist and expert in trauma. Dr. Conti discusses psychological trauma: what it is and its far-reaching, profound effects on the mind and body. Listeners will learn that trauma changes the functioning of the brain and alters the lens in which we see ourselves and the world around us. Trauma also spreads like a virus and affects people in our orbit, including our loved ones and colleagues. But there are major challenges in untangling complex problems and recognizing trauma. Dr. Conti talks about shame as the biggest obstacle to healing from trauma and offers solutions for how—as a society—we can start to change the stigma of mental health and allow more people to ask for and receive help. Importantly, Dr. Conti shares his deeply moving personal experiences with trauma. So, set aside any preconceived notions you have about trauma and give this episode a listen.

    “The Resilient Surgeon” is a program from the Society designed to inspire cardiothoracic surgeons to be their best selves, in and out of the OR, using scientifically proven tools and recovery strategies of the world’s top performers.

    Dr. Conti, author of Trauma: The Invisible Epidemic, can be reached at DrPaulConti.com 

    Learn more about STS wellness efforts at sts.org/wellness.

  • #134: The Resilient Surgeon S2: Brad Stulberg

    August 26, 2022

    In this episode, Dr. Michael Maddaus interviews Brad Stulberg—an internationally known expert on human performance, wellbeing, and sustainable success. He also authored the bestselling book, The Practice of Groundedness: A Transformative Path to Success That Feeds—Not Crushes—Your Soul. In this provocative and practical conversation, Brad shares a healthier, more sustainable model for success. He explains that at the heart of this model is groundedness—a practice that values presence over rote productivity, accepts that progress is nonlinear, and prioritizes long-term values and fulfillment over short-term gain. “The Resilient Surgeon” is a program from the Society designed to inspire cardiothoracic surgeons to be their best selves, in and out of the OR, using scientifically proven tools and recovery strategies of the world’s top performers.

    Brad can be reached at bradstulberg.com and @bstulberg

    Learn more about STS wellness efforts at sts.org/wellness.

  • #133: Same Surgeon, Different Light: Dr. Ed Chen

    April 28, 2022

    In this final episode of Season 2, Dr. David Tom Cooke interviews Dr. Ed Chen from Duke University in North Carolina. Described as an experienced leader with “exceptional maturity” and a reputation for “respectful and thoughtful engagement,” Dr. Chen generously shares his personal experiences and insight. While he is Taiwanese, Dr. Chen was born in Tokyo (where his parents were attending university), moved to Taiwan, and eventually landed in the US. His hometown? Athens, Georgia, he said, while sharing that he is a die-hard fan of University of Georgia football. Importantly, Dr. Chen explains that he is a “better person and surgeon” because he was able to travel and have different global experiences. Even as a young boy, he knew his future was in medicine. “I remember being fascinated with the circulatory system which was featured on this TV special called ‘The Body Human.’” In fact, his younger brother also became a surgeon. Dr. Chen credits good mentors with encouraging him to become a cardiothoracic surgeon. He attended Duke University School of Medicine, and 30+ years later, he has returned to Duke to lead cardiovascular and thoracic surgery. According to Dr. Chen, cardiothoracic surgery is thriving, but the specialty also is challenged by complex patients, changing training paradigms, and limited resources. “In order to survive as a specialty, we must be resilient, flexible, and collaborative—all while remaining committed to the patients and our learners,” he advises. Don’t miss the stories, experiences, and valuable advice from this leading light in cardiothoracic surgery. 

    "Same Surgeon, Different Light” is a program from the Society designed to demystify cardiothoracic surgery, revealing the men and women behind their surgical masks. Learn more about STS diversity and inclusion efforts at sts.org/diversity.

  • #132: Same Surgeon, Different Light: Dr. Cherie Erkmen

    April 14, 2022

    In this episode of Season 2, Dr. David Tom Cooke interviews Dr. Cherie Erkmen, from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. Dr. Erkmen grew up in Colorado with devoted parents who encouraged and inspired her to consider a career in medicine. Interestingly, her mom was unofficially a “storm chaser;” officially, she was an atmospheric researcher for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who studied how pollution impacts storm patterns and the connection between air pollution and lung cancer. Through her mom, Dr. Erkmen “gained a lot of courage and vicarious experience.” She remembers having only a “vague” idea of being a doctor when she was growing up. However, along with a cheering section of parents and siblings, Dr. Erkmen had the support to “think big.” In this fascinating conversation, she also shares that her dad’s battle with lung cancer motivated her to become a cardiothoracic surgeon. An active member of the STS Workforce on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Dr. Erkmen discusses the importance of listening to what the community needs and creative initiatives that she leads through Temple University. “Same Surgeon, Different Light” is a program from The Society of Thoracic Surgeons designed to demystify cardiothoracic surgery, revealing the men and women behind their surgical masks.

    Learn more about STS diversity and inclusion efforts at sts.org/diversity.